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Ford Will Charge More for the 2011 Explorer with Fewer Ponies

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On: Tue, Jul 27, 2010 at 11:58AM | By: Sherry Christiansen

Ford Will Charge More for the 2011 Explorer with Fewer Ponies

Ford is setting a brand new trend as it announces the new price structure for the new redesigned 2011 Explorer, asking consumers to do something rather out of the ordinary: pay more for an the engine option with less horsepower

Going against a historical track record of charging more for an engine with more hp that the automotive industry has had since its inception, Ford will be charging a premium for the 4-cylinder engine when the Explorer is launched at the end of this year. Contrary to most other trim levels offered, The Explorer’s 3.5 liter V-6 will be the standard option and the smaller 4-cylinder, with over 50 less horsepower, will be the next price level up.

According to Ford, the value of the smaller engine lies in its cutting edge technology that allows an SUV to realize the fuel economy of a Toyota Camry at 19 mpg in the city and 26mpg on the highway. SUV owners looking for a new roomy 4x4 that gets decent gas mileage can now have their cake and eat it too! In fact, according to a recent Bloomberg news article, the seven passenger 2011 model Ford Explorer now gets 30% better fuel efficiency than last year’s model.  

The Explorer’s engineer, Jim Holland, stated, “We really want to make a statement that the old baggage on fuel economy with the Explorer is gone; to get great fuel economy it takes technology, and it’s our view that people will pay for that.”

Critics are saying that Ford will be hard pressed to convince the public that there is more value in a smaller engine, particularly now that gas prices have gone down 34% from 2 years ago when some pumps were reading $4.11 per gallon, according to Jim Hall, principal of automotive consulting firm in Birmingham, Michigan.

“Why would you want to pay more for fuel economy when gas prices are going down?” Hall said. “People have very short memories.”

The new standard model Explorer with a V6 engine will start at $28,995, which is a grand less than this year’s base model. The V6 XLT trim level starts at $31,995, while the Limited V6 Explorer will start at $37,995. No announcement was made regarding exactly how much extra consumers will have to pay to get “less squirrels in the engine,” as they say.

Ford dealers are mulling around the idea of how to explain the value of a vehicle with less power that costs more to potential buyers. According to one dealer in Ohio, “It’s going to be a challenge” explaining to Explorer shoppers why they should pay more for the smaller engine. “We’re going to have to have a lot of product knowledge and training so we can make people understand.”

“The market will determine which really is the base engine,” Hall said. “If the market says, ‘Forget it,’ they may have to lower the cost of this engine.”

So for now, the jury is out and Ford customers will make the final decision. It seems that Ford is taking a big gamble with the-now more crossover than truck design that “costs more when you get less.”


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